My Favorite Spring Things

Winter is finally over and the landscape is awash with the florid colors of spring. I took my first run in short sleeves last week – hallelujah! – which means bare shoulders, swimsuits and sunscreen are just around the corner. I feel a surge of re-birth, swooning bursts of energy, and the desire to give fat, figurative bear hugs to all my current loves because I’m so damn happy!

So here are a few of my favorite spring things, from sandals to sounds to supporting good causes, to help you to stay healthy as the season blossoms with energy.

À votre santé to you, and a big, personal-space-invading bear hug, too!

MY NEW FOOT FETISH: BOKOS

I’m a die-hard flip-flopper and rarely stray, but my feet have found nirvana in my new lavender BOKOS, the absolute perfect spring fit for doing almost anything. I wear them to yoga, to the health food store, to preschool pick-up, and soon to the pool. I’m obsessed! They’re comfortable, inexpensive, slip-proof and the BOKOS color palette is sah-weet. The only prerequisite to wearing them? An equally springy pedicure (yes, guys, that means you, too).

Visit BOKOS and use the promo code “LARA” for 20% off your online order! (They run a wee bit big, so order a half size down if in doubt…)

FROM RAVER TO RUNNER: NOKTURNALIST ON SOUNDCLOUD

Dust me off and hand me a glow stick! I spent two years in the underground house scene in early 90’s San Francisco, and the pounding clubs and pebbled beaches of the Bay were pure magic. I was lucky to experience the best dance music being made in the world at that time and, 20 years later, I still search for that beat to quicken my pulse and motivate my runs.

This spring, I found my muse: NOKTURNALIST on SoundCloud.

Think of this cat as the King Curator of the most current music in the EDM scene. Through his SoundCloud page, I’ve discovered DJs like Hot Since ’82, Solumun and Maceo Plex, artists making and playing music my crotchety old self would never have been able to find on her own. (i.e., 40-ish mother-of-two still shaking her money maker at the clubs? Uh, no.)

I invite you to follow NOKTURNALIST and keep him in your pocket for a little fire on your runs this spring. My current favorite mix is DJ SOLUMUN IN AMSTERDAM. Tie up your running shoes and turn it up. Guaranteed to improve your splits time, bigtime!

FEELING GOOD BY DOING GOOD: CHARITY MILES

Charity Miles is the Great Idea makes you say, “Now why didn’t I think of that??”

For every mile you walk, run or bike, Charity Miles donates money to a long list of organizations such as Stand Up to Cancer, Habitat for Humanity, Nature Conservancy and more. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile for their charity of choice, without ever having to open their wallet.

Simply turn on the app, choose a charity, and press start. As you exercise, the app tracks your distance and the money earned.

So what are you waiting for? Download the app today on your iPhone or Android, get out there in the fresh springtime air, and run, walk or bike for your favorite charity. It feels so good to do good, all while getting healthy. WIN!

HAPPY SPRING!

Xoxoxo - Lara

Christmas in Chicago

This year was technically our first Christmas in Chicago; last year we were poised to host our Pittsburgh relatives at our new Chi-Town condo, but a family illness prevented them from traveling. So we piled all our presents into the FJ Cruiser and hightailed it to the 'Burgh. Our cousins were so grateful that they made my kids this amazing construction paper Christmas tree (my husband's family is Jewish but gracefully tolerate my hysterical obsession with all things Kris Kringle)...

Fast forward a year and here's the Real Thing, decorated with the help of my children. What an incredibly fun and wondrous tradition - I skipped the tree thing for almost 10 years, and now that I have 2 little rug rats, I've recommenced all those special and dearly missed Christmas rituals. 

We got a white Christmas this year, or should I say a White December - it snowed all month long and I can't tell you how inconvenient it made my workout schedule! I didn't run outside for 3 weeks, and lots of time was spent indoors making Santa-shaped cookies with sprinkles.

And eating them. 

But instead of feeling Scrooge-y about consuming more sugar / burning less calories, I allowed myself to indulge just a little. I snuggled with the kids, watched nostalgic holiday movies, stayed up late with the husband drinking apple cider gin cocktails, and wrapped presents, humming with the buzz of Christmas spirit (the gin helped).

On Christmas Day, I spent the morning watching my kids open their presents, reminiscing about my magical Christmas mornings as a child. Every year my brother and I would sneak upstairs to open our stockings and overload on chocolates before the sun was up. My mom and dad would put on Christmas choral music and we'd spend the day together opening presents, eating a salty-sweet breakfast, and deciding on which movie we should go see in the late afternoon. My parents really knew how to do Christmas, and I aspire every year to recreate that same sense of delight for my children.

The weather opened up on the 26th and the temperature climbed into the 30's. So I put on my running shoes and got outside, looping 6 miles to my favorite park and back. It was a difficult distance after such a long break, but I feel a sense of accomplishment for getting out there and getting it done.

All in all, our Christmas was perfect. I allowed myself to take a break and enjoy this most precious time of year, I felt a deeper appreciation for my family and for those traditions we carry through the generations, and I offered up gratitude for the childhood memories my family so lovingly helped to create during Christmases past. I hope you, too, enjoyed your holiday season. Now time to turn your thoughts toward 2014! - Xoxoxo Lara